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'In the best interests of the child'

In all matters of adoption, it is the needs of the child that come first. This is often quoted as 'in the best interests of the child'. Agencies are not concerned about the parents welfare, they are only there to ensure the welfare of the child.

 When you go through an adoption process you have to have a shift of focus - from yourself to that of 'the' child.

Adoption and all relating legislation and practice guidance is focused totally on the needs of the child.  Children come first. In fact the Adoption and Children Act 2002 makes it clear that the welfare of the child's needs are to be the paramount consideration of the Adoption Agency. (Of course here they are talking about 'the' child as if there is a universal child, and not each and every specific unique child - so academically there is potential flaw in this thinking). However, the government's guidance clearly stipulates in all the agency’s decisions about the child, the child's needs should come above those of adults.

Thus your desperate need to 'have a child' is not actually the adoption agency's concern and it is not their job to facilitate the matching of a child to fulfil your needs.

It is, though, their role to find a suitable potential parents who are able to facilitate the five outcomes under the Every Child Matters agenda for children in need. The agenda is inclusive of every child and young person, whatever their background or circumstances.

These desirable outcomes are for children:

  • Be healthy
  • Stay safe
  • Enjoy and achieve
  • Make a positive contribution
  • Achieve economic well-being

These universal ambitions are mutually reinforcing, thus a safe child is able to enjoy and achieve, and a healthy child is able to thrive and make a positive contribution. Education is not mentioned, but it is considered to be the key to offer a route out of poverty.

Obviously, it is parents who have the crucial role in helping children to achieve these Early Child Matters outcomes. And for children in need the adoption agency will assess potential parents with the view that they are able to influence the child's five outcomes. They will be looking to see if you can provide positive, confident, resilient parenting so that your child will be benefit though out childhood and into adulthood.


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